Well that was great tennis by Monfils, who really took the game to Nadal. He faces his mate Tsonga in the final. Thanks for joining me, Reda Maher, we'll be back for tomorrow's final (and Murray's Brisbane semi). You can follow me on Twitter @Reda_Maher
Rafael Nadal - Gaël Monfils
ATP Doha - 6 January 2012
Doha – Follow the Tennis match between Rafael Nadal and Gaël Monfils live with Eurosport. The match starts at 13:30 on 6 January 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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NADAL 4-6 GAME SET AND MATCH! Monfils's third match point, the 'allez' rings out... and an error from Nadal on the rally! He spins it wide! Nadal is out and Monfils is in the final, only his second win against the Spaniard! The crowd are on their feet!
NADAL 4-5! It has to be a rally but the first one goes Nadal's way as Monfils freezes up and nets. Should have been the winner... Still one match point... A pounding rally that Nadal wins just off the corner! Deuce after a failed appeal. 'He he' Monfils laughs at his own call. Nadal just won't lie down! Somehow Nadal returns serve and a rally ensues, a really good one too that Monfils wins with an incredible shot off the line! Bravo!!! 25th shot of the rally and match point no.3.
NADAL 4-5 So, Monfils serving for the match and a place in the final. Can he hold his nerve? Ha. Double fault to start. But a flying smash at the net levels. He likes that. Then a super recovery from Monfils after a Nadal shot takes a huge diversion off the net. Two points from the win... He has won 15 of the last 20 points too. Nadal strikes one long and it's match point x2!
NADAL 4-5 BREAK! Monfils takes the first point at the net. Then Nadal nets weakly after an ordinary return, 0-30, serious trouble for Nadal... First serve is wide, second is cagey so a rally follows... And Nadal misses as Monfils suddenly spins it wide! Three break points!! First serve just wide, Nadal challenges... overruled. Second serve is good but Monfils returns, super rally and Monfils wins it with a stop-volley at the net! Monfils to serve for the match!!
NADAL 4-4 After that superb start to this set Nadal is flagging a bit as Monfils bosses him on serve - but hang on, Monfils misses a game-winning point with an overhit, overhead smash. Nadal was stranded too - terrible error. How will he respond? A rally ensues, very long, and Monfils cracks by going long! Deuce. Now break point Rafa after another lengthy rally, Nadal approaching the net and volleying away. But Monfils fights back and has advantage after a flying smash. Holds with a good serve.
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NADAL 4-3 BREAK BACK! Cracking return from Monfils as he takes the first point. Bbut he lets out a roar of anguish with a poor backhand into net after getting ahead in that next point. But hang on, two break points as Monfils finds some extra pace on a rally and Nadal mis-hits long! First serve is wide and the second is poor, returned with interest, Nadal puts it back but is stuck too deep and central and Monfils blasts it into the corner! Allez Monfils! This is a topsy-turvy match!
NADAL 4-2 194kph serve from Monfils to level at 30-30. Nadal in the ascendance still but a lovely running backhand at net from Monfils for 40-30. Really impressed with Monfils today, as he holds.
NADAL 4-1 Ooooh a very close and good review as the ball shades the line, Monfils accepting it when he could have asked for a let call. Love game Nadal.
NADAL 3-1 Another break point for Nadal as Monfils can't deal with his power. But a good serve levels at deuce - only for a double-fault to give Nadal break point! No, ovrerruled - it was a let. And Monfils takes advantage of the let off with a cute backhand volley at the net. But deuce again after a crisp rally that Monfils seemed to have taken with a nice dropshot but Nadal somehow makes it and crushes away a backhand winner. But Nadal mishits a backhand wide and then nets and it's a hold.
NADAL 3-0 Some fierce serving from Rafa but Monfils bites back to 40-30... But Rafa holds with a serve and a forehand smash.
NADAL 2-0 BREAK! Aggressive from Rafa in Monfils's opening service game in the second set, moving the Frenchman about until he finally cracks with an off-target backhand. A drop shot that leaves Gael stranded puts Nadal 30-15 up. He's taking the game to him! But a vicious first serve can only be netted by Rafa and it's level. Nadal takes the break point that follows as Monfils hits long. Super start Rafa.
NADAL 1-0 Monfils starts the second set with a wicked, sliding forehand off the line and wide of Nadal after the Spaniard thought he had taken that point. Classy. But a strong serve by Nadal and a missed Monfils backhand (actual miss, he struck air) put Rafa in front. He holds comfortably in the end.
Mac Gold - yes it is a nice change to get some tennis in. Far more civilised than the bread-and-butter of football (although I will be covering plenty this weekend and beyond).
NADAL 3-6 SET MONFILS!! A challenge on a wide serve, overruled, and second serve... Super return from Nadal and Monfils flies at the net to volley - has he overhit it? No! Just in and he leaps in joy! Set point again... TAKEN WITH AN ACE! Clap clap.
NADAL 3-5 Monfils nets after a decent Nadal return. The Frenchman's mates immediately drop their heads. Then Monfils is given a nightmare with some wide shots by Nadal and he nets again. 0-30. Oh dear. Responds with a top serve though. And what a shot to level! Double-handed backhand down the line after Nadal had bossed the rally. And he batters his way to set point - not taken as he spins a forehand wide. Deuce.
NADAL 3-5 The crowd get excited as Monfils takes the first point but he goes long next and a 'vamos' rings through the Doha Tennis and Squash Complex (catchy). Easy hold for Nadal as he keeps Monfils honest, making him serve for the set.
NADAL 2-5 Nadal is angry and, as I said yesterday, you won't like the Hulk when he's angry. Vicious forehand on the fall that flies past Monfils, who applauds his rival sportingly. Oddly though Nadal spanks a mis-hit double-hander in the air and into the crowd when he was in control of the rally. Over aggressive. Monfils recovers to hold and Nadal must serve to stay in the set.
NADAL 2-4 BREAK! Well then, Monfils takes the break point with a Nadal style pump down the baseline, jumping in the air as he gets his armspan around a beautiful shot! First blood Monfils!
NADAL 2-3 Anything Monfils can do, so can Rafa. Obviously. After a shaky opening few games he has got his serve sorted and moves 40-15 up, only to drop a point with a weak baseliner into the net. And after another second-serve, Nadal slips on his volley and it's deuce. Monfils definitely starting the better here. And Nadal goes wide on the next point and it's break point!!
NADAL 2-3 Again Monfils makes mincemeat of Nadal on serve as he zips through that game to hold. Change of ends and a drink.
NADAL 2-2 Nadal opts for the wider deliveries that served him well against Youzhny, giving Monfils the runaround for a couple of points. Monfils does pull one back but Nadal holds as the Frenchman can only net after moving well to stay in the point.
NADAL 1-2 Monfils makes light work of that service game, Nadal nowhere near him as the Frenchman looks to get the Spaniard on serve.
NADAL 1-1 A tough opening hold for Nadal, who manages to keep Monfils at bay in the end as the Frenchman overhits a forehand.
NADAL 0-1 A superb rally is won by Monfils as Nadal goes wide with a curving forehand. Some great shots and recoveries from both men there, Monfils dictating it ultimately to go 30-15 up against the Nadal serve. Monfils bosses Nadal off second serve but he blows his chance to get some early break points with a poor forehand into the net. Monfils then goes long, Nadal apologising for fluking it off the net earlier. Another cracking point follows, with Nadal volleying long. Deuce.
NADAL 0-1 A nice opening exchange sees Monfils, on serve, win the first point. Rafa twice returns long, 40-0, but Rafa pulls one back. Then Monfils with an unforced error, weak into the net after a so-so return from Rafa, and what was supposed to be an easy hold is now more complex. But a crisp, delightful winner down the line means Monfils avoids deuce to hold.
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HEAD TO HEAD: Nadal leads Monfils 8-1, with Monfils's only win coming here in Doha three years ago. Their last match was in Barcelona last season, Rafa winning 6-2 6-2.
Tsonga's bit of fun with Edberg is over and Nadal and Monfils are out on court.
A quite remarkable statistic: Federer has never retired from a match and this is only the second time he has failed to finish a tournament.
Scratch that - Tsonga is now to play a one-set exhibition match against Stefan Edberg first. Nadal will follow.
The clash between Nadal and Monfils has been brought forward - it should start some time after 14:00 UK time. When it does, you can also watch the action on British Eurosport 2.
They are competing for the right to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Saturday after Roger Federer pulled out of their last-four clash with a back injury. However he hopes to make the Australian Open, which starts in 10 days' time.
Top seed Rafael Nadal faces Gael Monfils in the semi-finals of the Qatar Open.